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CAMEL

Symphonic Prog • United Kingdom


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Camel biography
Formed in 1971 in Guildford, Surrey, UK - Disbanded in 1984 - Reformed from 1991 to 2003 and again since 2013

The roots of CAMEL go as far as 1964, when the Latimer brothers Andrew and Bryan form part of a band called THE PHANTOM FOUR, after gaining some fame, the band changes their name to STRANGE BREW, a when the bass player Graham Cooper reaches the band. But things were about to change, Ian Latimer and Cooper leave the band and Doug Ferguson joins.

At this point drummer Andrew Ward joins the crew and the seeds were growing in this new Blues oriented band called simply THE BREW, and at last in 1971 with the arrival of keyboardist Peter BARDENS CAMEL is officially born.

In their first period CAMEL releases four albums, the self titled debut, which was received with limited enthusiasm by the public, which lead to the change of label from MCA (Who didn't wanted to take risks) to Decca, with whom they stayed for 10 years.

Followed by "Mirage", Snow Goose" and "Moonmadness" (for many their essential trilogy), during the latest album tour, the saxophonist and flute player Mel Collins joins and leads CAMEL to a first radical change in the sound, as well as in the formation because Doug Ferguson is replaced by the Ex CARAVAN bass player Richard SINCLAIR.

With this formation CAMEL releases two albums, "Rain Dances and "Breathless", which marks for many the end of CAMEL'S golden era mainly because Pete Bardens leaves the band and the next release "I Can See Your House From Here" is considered inferior to the previous releases by the critic.

From this point the lineups constantly changes but the band still releases seven more albums received with different degrees of acceptance, until the last studio album "A Nod And a Wink" sees the light in 2002 (the same year Pete Bardens passes away) completing a large discography of 14 studio releases, 9 live albums, 7 DVD's and several box sets .

Maybe because their style is softer than most of the pioneer bands with atmospheric and light Space Rock overtones their fanbase is not as huge as the ones of the coetaneous and more aggressive bands such as GENESIS (Who in my opinion influenced CAMEL), YES or KING CRIMSON, but CAMEL is without doubt among the most respected groups, and the Latimer - Bardens duo is considered one of the most creative compositional teams.

If I h...
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CAMEL discography


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CAMEL top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.95 | 1378 ratings
Camel
1973
4.40 | 2821 ratings
Mirage
1974
4.30 | 2401 ratings
The Snow Goose
1975
4.39 | 2406 ratings
Moonmadness
1976
3.64 | 1018 ratings
Rain Dances
1977
3.17 | 843 ratings
Breathless
1978
2.91 | 731 ratings
I Can See Your House From Here
1979
3.63 | 809 ratings
Nude
1981
2.64 | 523 ratings
The Single Factor
1982
3.44 | 733 ratings
Stationary Traveller
1984
3.65 | 547 ratings
Dust And Dreams
1991
3.75 | 645 ratings
Harbour Of Tears
1996
4.08 | 900 ratings
Rajaz
1999
3.96 | 722 ratings
A Nod and a Wink
2002
4.18 | 591 ratings
The Snow Goose (Re-recording)
2013

CAMEL Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.38 | 437 ratings
A Live Record
1978
3.38 | 183 ratings
Pressure Points
1984
3.70 | 127 ratings
Camel On The Road 1972
1992
4.44 | 180 ratings
Never Let Go
1993
2.44 | 79 ratings
Camel On The Road 1982
1994
3.44 | 75 ratings
Camel On The Road 1981
1997
4.30 | 149 ratings
Coming Of Age
1998
3.88 | 80 ratings
Camel 73 - 75 Gods of Light
2000
3.64 | 82 ratings
The Paris Collection
2001
4.89 | 18 ratings
Camel At The Royal Albert Hall
2020

CAMEL Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

2.60 | 48 ratings
Pressure Points - Live in Concert
1984
4.54 | 123 ratings
Coming of Age (DVD)
1998
2.94 | 29 ratings
Curriculum Vitae
2003
3.98 | 52 ratings
Footage
2004
3.86 | 39 ratings
Footage II
2005
4.01 | 48 ratings
Total Pressure - Live In Concert 1984
2007
3.93 | 61 ratings
Moondances
2007
4.40 | 84 ratings
The Opening Farewell - Live At The Catalyst
2010
4.43 | 43 ratings
In From The Cold
2014
4.37 | 29 ratings
Ichigo Ichie - Live in Japan 2016
2017
4.98 | 32 ratings
Live At The Royal Albert Hall
2019

CAMEL Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.08 | 20 ratings
Chameleon (Best Of Camel)
1981
3.26 | 22 ratings
The Collection
1985
3.75 | 32 ratings
A Compact Compilation
1985
2.68 | 12 ratings
Landscapes
1991
3.48 | 62 ratings
Echoes
1993
2.41 | 11 ratings
Camel (25th Anniversary Compilation)
1997
4.11 | 36 ratings
Lunar Sea - An Anthology 1973-1985
2001
4.33 | 3 ratings
Supertwister - Best
2006
4.19 | 44 ratings
Rainbow's End - A Camel Anthology 1973 - 1985
2010

CAMEL Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

4.06 | 35 ratings
Never Let Go
1973
4.80 | 15 ratings
The Snow Goose
1975
3.59 | 13 ratings
Flight Of The Snow Goose
1975
3.94 | 29 ratings
Another Night
1976
3.62 | 20 ratings
Highways of the Sun
1977
4.11 | 9 ratings
Breathless
1978
3.80 | 5 ratings
Your Love Is Stranger Than Mine
1979
4.50 | 2 ratings
Some Exerpts From The New Camel Album
1979
2.75 | 4 ratings
Remote Romance
1979
3.75 | 4 ratings
Remote Romance (German Version)
1979
5.00 | 2 ratings
Camel In Concert No.250
1981
4.00 | 7 ratings
Lies
1981
3.75 | 8 ratings
No Easy Answer
1982
4.14 | 7 ratings
Selva
1982
3.32 | 9 ratings
Cloak And Dagger Man
1984
2.65 | 8 ratings
Long Goodbyes
1984
3.33 | 3 ratings
Berlin Occidental (West Berlin)
1984
3.75 | 4 ratings
Lies (Promo Single)
1984
4.33 | 6 ratings
Captured
1986
4.73 | 25 ratings
Never Let Go
2002

CAMEL Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Landscapes by CAMEL album cover Boxset/Compilation, 1991
2.68 | 12 ratings

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Landscapes
Camel Symphonic Prog

Review by VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Review Nº 436

After Camel has released their first four studio albums, which belong to their golden era, "Camel" in 1973, "Mirage" in 1974, "The Snow Goose" in 1975 and "Moonmadness" in 1976 with the same line up Latimer, Bardens, Ferguson and Ward, the band had the first change. Their bassist Doug Ferguson left the group. After that, Richard Sinclair and Mel Collins joined the group and Camel released two more studio albums "Rain Dances" in 1977 and "Breathless" in 1978 with the same line up. Thereafter, Camel began to start unstable with constant changes inside their line up. By the time that Camel released "I Can See You House From Here", in 1979, rock changed drastically due to punk rock movement, which resulted in less press coverage for prog rock, as well as decreased record sales and less space to deal with record labels. Camel released three more studio albums "Nude" in 1981, "The Single Factor" in 1982 and "Stationary Traveller" in 1984 with constant changes inside their line up. The main of all was when their drummer Andy Ward was forced to leave the group due to health problems. In 1985 their record label Decca dropped Camel and Latimer wasn't able to find a new record label because he was in a legal battle with Camel's former manager Geoff Jukes. Camel entered into a long period of hibernation that lasted until the 90's. So, it was in this context that appears "Landscapes".

"Landscapes" is a compilation of Camel and was released in 1991. It has nineteen tracks. "Freefall" is from "Mirage". It's almost an instrumental track with nice moments. It's influenced by several styles, with an excellent melody. "Sanctuary" and "Fritha" are from "The Snow Goose". They're two very short tracks that can be seen as bridges to connect the title track. Both are calm, peaceful and beautiful with a similar structure. They work very well on that album. "Spirit Of The Water" and "Air Born" are from "Moonmadness". "Spirit Of The Water" is a short track, an atmospheric pretty ballad with a beautiful piano work complemented by a distant vocal singing. It adds a special feel to it. "Air Born" is one of their most memorable tracks. It's an excellent developed song. It begins with flute and piano, in a classic style, which suddenly explodes with all instruments and vocals. "First Light", "Sky Lines" and "Rain Dances" are from "Rain Dances". "First Light" is an inspired fantastic instrumental that represents a great opening for that album. "Sky Lines" is an instrumental with some great jazzy influences. It's a good number very well performed by all band's members. "Rain Dances" is a reprise of the opener track of that album. It's an excellent classic instrumental track. It represents a natural and a great close to that excellent work. "Echoes" is from "Breathless". It's a typical Camel's track and is one of the most progressive songs on that album. It has a great Latimer's guitar work. It's the best track on that album. "Your Love Is Stronger Than Mine" is from "I Can See Your House From Here". It's a melodic track with a pop style. It has some nice vocal harmonies in the wave of the commercial hits. It's a simple and good track with nothing special. "City Life", "Beached", "Landscapes", "Reflections" and "The Last Farewell" are from "Nude". "City Life" is a bit poppy but is well done. Mel Collins adds some nice sax work here. "Beached" is an instrumental track and is an excellent example of some glossy prog that sounds exciting and inspiring. "Landscapes" is a gorgeous and ethereal piece. A deep keyboard work surrounds the soothing flute melody like a warm halo giving to it a special taste. "Reflections" is a well executed piece that demonstrates how sublime subtlety can't only be heartwarming but highly admirable as prog. It has a beautiful synth sound very spacey. "The Last Farewell" is a melancholy piece that reprises an earlier theme on that album. It closes that album nicely. "Refugee", "Cloak And Dagger Man", "Stationary Traveller" and "Missing" are from "Stationary Traveller". "Refugee" is a solid track with a modern sound. The final result is a well balanced track. "Cloak And Dagger Man" sounds in the new wave pop style with a fast and frenetic rhythm. It was written in a commercial style that reminds me some other bands of those times. "Stationary Traveller" is an instrumental with the typical Camel's sound. This is the best track on that album where we can see Latimer at his best. It represents one of the highest moments on that album. "Missing" is a very beautiful track with satisfactory melodic changes. It's in the neo-prog vein.

Conclusion: As I wrote before, "Landscapes" appears in a huge musical hiatus of the band. Camel wasn't productive for more than six years, since they released "Stationary Traveller" and the DVD "Pressure Points", in 1984. So, this was probably the main reason why Latimer released "Landscapes". I hesitated to rate this compilation with 3 or 4 stars. It seems to be a very good compilation and very representative of the band's history because it has songs from all their studio albums, at the time, with the exception of their eponymous debut album "Camel" released in 1973. Besides, Camel doesn't have bad albums and even their weakest studio albums "I Can See Your House From Here" and "The Single Factor" aren't really bad. Still, "Landscapes" is a collection of Camel's short and more commercial songs. The final result is a good compilation very accessible to the beginners with Camel. So, I decided to rate it only with 3 stars.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

 Mirage by CAMEL album cover Studio Album, 1974
4.40 | 2821 ratings

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Mirage
Camel Symphonic Prog

Review by King Brimstone

3 stars - Review #23 -

Camel's second album, Mirage, is apparently widely regarded as a masterpiece of progressive rock. Unfortunately, after multiple listens, I just can't find the magic that everyone talks about, and this is my relationship with Camel in general. There's like fifty prog albums that I would put over this.

This album's lows aren't very low, but at the same time its peaks aren't very high either. It's missing that spark of genius that makes you say 'Wow! That's outstanding!' and I highly attribute that to the fact that each musician isn't that virtuous. The album sounds very similar all the way through and doesn't have many surprises (which is worrying since, after all, we're talking about British 70s prog), because of that it ends up sounding pretty generic.

Freefall starts with a very energetic and rhythmic vibe that makes you wanna bop your head. It's a fun track, but it gets boring after a few listens. Supertwister is an instrumental heavily dominated by flute, and if it wasn't because of the flute it wouldn't be very memorable. After that, we get a three-step suite that features serious inspiration from Genesis, King Crimson, And early Van Der Graaf Generator, there's sections with vocals as the focus, others with keyboards. Because of that it's a little more dynamic than the rest of the album. Earthrise is yet another instrumental with a beginning that repeats itself a little too much, the guitar solo later on is fun and dynamic though. Finally, Lady Fantasy is yet another suite with a nice beginning verse. Unfortunately, the repetitions found later in the song really bring its momentum down and end up finishing the album in a relatively low note.

This is still an enjoyable progressive rock album, but I definitely think it's very far from being a masterpiece. You should still check it out, though. Three Stars.

 Rain Dances by CAMEL album cover Studio Album, 1977
3.64 | 1018 ratings

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Rain Dances
Camel Symphonic Prog

Review by prog_traveller!!

3 stars After "Moonmadness" the first personnel changes took place. Doug Ferguson left, Richard Sinclair took his place, and saxophonist Mel Collins joined in. Sinclair had previously been an important figure in Caravan, also in Hathfield and The North, and after joining the Camel, he began to play a prominent role here as well. Big enough that Latimer was seriously considering changing the group's name to Caramel. Indeed, listening to the music from "Rain Dances" and "Breathless" such a change was not so unjustified, because apart from the composition, the music also changed in some way. In fact, it was even quite similar to the Caravan - lightness, melodiousness of the composition, and on the other hand, more boldly used jazz elements. It was a very conscious procedure. The band had already matured the idea to turn to jazz, to make their music "a little bit jazzy," said Latimer. Surely Sinclair was the perfect person to help them with this. Andy evidently bent on him and after Ferguson left, he tormented him for a long time to join the Camel. As you can see, he succeeded.

Basically, the Camel plays more or less the same on "Rain Dances" as before, but different. Never mind the jazz influences, because there is so much of them - two songs from "One of these Days I'll get an early night" at the forefront, plus Collins' saxophone. It is mainly about Sinclair's bass - performing both rhythmic and melodic functions. Besides, Sinclair was never the man with the steady rumble in the background on four. He was very actively involved in the band's performance, and his bass is always audible very well, as if in contrast to the rest of the instruments. Compared to the previous ones, this album is produced a bit differently - it sounds lighter, it may give a softer impression of a certain pop, but the best Caravan records also sounded like that.

Richard Sinclair was the voice of the group. His singing in "Tell Me" is simply beautiful, as are his warm bass taps. It is a small crime that of all things the trendy "Highways Of The Sun" sung by Latimer follows this little pearl. With "Metronome" and "Unevensong" there are two more pop songs, which turned out to be a lot more bearable, almost nice. Otherwise instrumental numbers predominate on "Rain Dances". I would describe this music as symphonic jazz rock, which goes a bit in the direction of the typical, smooth mainstream fusion of the late 70s.

Sinclair's bass hums playfully (and his contribution is probably the most interesting thing on this disc), Ward doesn't exactly overexert himself on his drums, Latimer rocks solidly with the guitar in between, and Bardens provides extensive keyboard background or jazzy-funky electric piano lines. Now and then Mel Collins trumps a powerful saxophone solo in between. That's not bad, but I find "First Light", "One Of These Days I'll Get An Early Night" and "Skylines" all in all pretty unspectacular but good. "Elke" and the title track are still very nice, as they are reminiscent of the "old" Camel with their elegiac atmosphere and the flute sounds (in "Elke").

"Rain Dances" shows Camel on the way to commercialism, not necessarily unusual for 1977. Camel go down this route with a very high quality, and I could imagine that listeners who really love the relaxed symphoprog of Camel's first four albums will still be able to gain something from this disc.

 Moonmadness by CAMEL album cover Studio Album, 1976
4.39 | 2406 ratings

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Moonmadness
Camel Symphonic Prog

Review by SeeHatfield

3 stars An album I disliked for years that means a lot to me now...

My first Camel album was The Snow Goose. I discovered the band, or rather my friend Steve and I discovered them, nearly forty years ago, courtesy of "Stone Trek," disc jockey Greg Stone's late-night prog show on station KOME in San Jose. It was Stone who played tracks from The Snow Goose and inspired us to seek it out. This became a formative experience of sorts, and TSG remains one of my favorite mid-70s prog albums: a pleasant long-playing, immersive experience. It may be the Camel album that holds together best, despite being, I think, overstretched on Side 2. Of course, the vocals on TSG are limited to brief passages of scat or vocalise by Andy Latimer: a kind of instrumental coloring.

Moonmadness was my second Camel album (Steve and I had ventured out to learn a bit more). It came as a shock. In fact, I instantly hated it. The vocals, I thought, were wretched -- and Moonmadness had plenty of vocals, because, unlike TSG, it favored traditional song form. If TSG, a loosely narrative instrumental suite, a kind of program music in which you could pretty much ignore the program, had fit right in with my love of symphonic tone poems and film music, Moonmadness asked me to listen to songs. This was not a case of assertively weird vocals, which I could learn to love: I loved Ian Anderson's singing in Tull, and was learning to dig Peter Gabriel's in the early Genesis, as well as the polyvocal workouts of Gentle Giant. Rather, Camel's vocals were earnest, even mawkish: lugubrious, draggy, and blurred, at times hidden underneath a blousy veil of studio effects as if the band were afraid to bring their voices out front. I figured out right then that singing was not Camel's strong suit, and I've been of that opinion ever since. Ditto their lyric-writing. This was a big hurdle for me.

At some point soon after, I must have heard Mirage, and I certainly became an all-around Camel fan despite not warming to Moonmadness. The lyrics and singing on Mirage were just as poor, but that album had a ferocious energy, some real spirit and attack, and its vocals were not shrouded in mist. I dug it. On Moonmadness, by contrast, the attack felt blunted, and the singing sort of foggy and recessive, as if it were taking its corner, reluctant to venture out. So I filed Moonmadness away as a clumsy transitional record, and didn't listen to it much.

Now I see that it is Camel's most beloved album here on PA! Huh? I guess some reconsideration is in order...

I admit, though Moonmadness is still not a fave, over the years I've learned to listen to it differently, to take it in as a mood piece with a certain swooning atmosphere. There is good melody writing here, notably in "Air Born" and "Song within a Song," both of which would shine with more confident singing, and there's also, in the home stretch, one of my favorite Camel tracks, the delicious nine-minute instrumental, "Lunar Sea." That one's a beaut. Propelled by Andy Ward's intense drumming, it really puts the band through its (sometimes 5/8) paces. I love its great, racing fadeout, as well as its eerie opening and closing. I can hear Latimer and Pete Bardens' writing partnership at work here, as the track goes through its different phases.

"Lunar Sea" is easy to love, and often excerpted (I would listen to it a lot on the compilation album Echoes,years later). It attains that Mirage sort of energy, while somehow keeping with the woozy, dreamlike mood of the whole album. Other tracks took me longer to like, but, as mentioned, "Air Born" and "Song within a Song" strike me as high points, each one tuneful and a bit complex, reminding me of earlier Camel numbers like "Earthrise." Both have that sort of melancholy and minor-key, almost bleary Romanticism that I associate with Camel: the sense of something bittersweet yet also, oddly, hopeful, never grim for the sake of being grim, and often downright sentimental. Moonmadness might be the Camel LP that best captures that mood.

So, perhaps Moonmadness is the quintessential Camel album? Listening to it now, I'm reminded of what I miss in the post-seventies Camel: the feeling of a live band, that snap and energy. Despite its sort of groggy atmosphere and smothered vocals, Moonmadness has that. So, I'd call this 3 stars -- though for nostalgia's sake it has become a keeper for me. I smile to think of how I raged when I first spun this album, all those years ago.

 The Collection by CAMEL album cover Boxset/Compilation, 1985
3.26 | 22 ratings

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The Collection
Camel Symphonic Prog

Review by VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Review Nº 427

"The Collection" is a compilation album of Camel and was released in 1985. It was released in LP and CD formats with different versions. The LP version was released with twenty tracks and the CD version was released with less four tracks. The four tracks are "Nimrodel/The Procession/White Rider", "Earthrise", "Song Within A Song" and "First Light". In this case, the version that I'm going to review here on Progarchives is the LP version with the twenty tracks.

"Freefall", "Supertwister", "Nimrodel/The Procession/White Rider" and "Earthrise" are all tracks from "Mirage" of 1974. "Freefall" is almost an instrumental track with an excellent melodic line. It's influenced by diverse styles of music. "Supertwister" is a nice and peaceful track. It's a great instrumental track, partially dominated by a great flute work, proving that Latimer is a great flute player too. "Nimrodel/The Procession/The White Rider" is one of the two multi-part epic tracks on that album. It's one of the best tracks on that album with its time changes and soundscapes that carries the theme to a great symphonic climax. "Earthrise" is a nice instrumental track with a frenetic middle section with Latimer's guitar and Bardens' keyboards. It's probably one of the best and finest instrumentals by them. "Rhayader", "Rhayader Goes To Town", "Migration", "Rhayader Alone", "La Princesse Perdue" and "The Great March" are all tracks from "The Snow Goose" of 1975. "Rhayader" is a track with a powerful melody combining flute, guitar and organ. It has a memorable flute melody supported by an organ solo. "Rhayader Goes To Town" brings the music into a faster tempo, with great combination of guitar and organ with energetic beats. It has an extended guitar solo too. "Migration" brings the music into an upbeat style. It's an uplifting track full of spirit, and the scatting melodies are very nice and catchy, really. "Rhayader Alone" is a quite and mellow track where the guitar plays gently. It's a dark and magical track that can tell us that someone is really alone. "La Princesse Perdue" is one of the highlights on that album and makes a beautiful ending with "The Great Marsh" reprise. It practically sums the amazing music all over that album. "The Great March" is a punchy and nice tune played with the flute. It opens and concludes the album with an exploration of nature sounds. "Aristillus", "Spirit Of The Water", "Lunar Sea" and "Song Within A Song" are all tracks from "Moonmadness" of 1976. "Aristillus" is an instrumental atmospheric track, very melodic, which is dominated by the keyboards. It's an excellent showcase for that entire album. "Spirit Of The Water" has a beautiful piano work complemented by a distant vocal singing. It's an atmospheric ballad, very pretty, and built around piano and synthesizer with Bardens' distant voice adding a special feel to it. "Lunar Sea" is another instrumental, and is one of the best tracks on that album. It's a song with great individual and collective performances. "Song Within A Song" is a calm, beautiful, and melancholic track that contrasts with the deepest voice of Ferguson. It's an excellent track with nice and relaxing guitar and flute works. "Rain Dances", "Highways Of The Sun" and "First Light" are three tracks from "Rain Dances" of 1977. "Rain Dances" is a reprise of "First Light". It's an excellent instrumental track, very classic. It represents a natural and a great ending to that excellent album. "Highways Of The Sun" is a track with some commercial mood and with some pop characteristics, but with a final touch of Camel's sound. It's an example how to make a good pop song by a prog band. "First Light" is an inspired instrumental piece that represents a great opening to that album. It was the first time we could listen a sax on a Camel's album. "Drafted" and "Captured" are both tracks from "Nude" of 1981. "Drafted" is a track with great melodies and guitar themes in the classic Camel's style. It proved, beyond any doubt, the band was back at their best and pure roots on that album. "Captured" is a powerful, rhythmical and very captivating instrumental track that perfectly reflects the most mundane tastes so fashionable in the 80's. "Sasquatch" is a track from "The Single Factor" of 1982. This is perhaps the brightest track on that album. It's an interesting instrumental track. The main characteristic of it is that this is the only track on that album that features the presence of their former keyboardist, Peter Bardens.

Conclusion: "The Collection" is, in my humble opinion, a good compilation of Camel. Almost all of its tracks belong to some of their best studio albums. It has four tracks from "Mirage" which is considered as one of their best studio albums from the 70's. It has six tracks from "The Snow Goose" which is also considered another of their best studio albums from the 70's. And it has four tracks from "Moonmadness" which is an album considered as one of their three best studio albums from the 70's, with "Mirage" and "The Snow Goose". But, unfortunately, it has no tracks from their eponymous debut studio album "Camel". It has three tracks from "Rain Dances", which is an excellent album and the last great studio album released by them in the 70's. It has two tracks from "Nude". "Nude" is surely their best studio album released in the 80's. It has one track from "The single Factor". Despite "The Single Factor" be probably Camel's weakest studio album, "Sasquatch" is a very good track and doesn't spoil the overall good quality of "The Collection".

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

 Moonmadness by CAMEL album cover Studio Album, 1976
4.39 | 2406 ratings

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Moonmadness
Camel Symphonic Prog

Review by prog_traveller!!

5 stars After the considerable success, of the instrumental concept album, "The Snow Goose" (1975), the band faced quite a challenge, the bar was raised very high. There was also pressure from the publisher, they insisted that the quartet's next album had little more song-like structures and move away from its conceptual form. As it turned out, it was impossible to escape from the concept.

A heartfelt album, to be considered a one-shot and showcasing some of the greatest moments in prog rock history, Moonmadness is not only an excellent record in the Camel discography, it is one of the greatest heights of progressive rock.

This album represents a total state of calm that can be noticed with "Aristillus", which starts the album - a rhythmic intro, spiced up with an expressive solo, followed by the melodic, misty - sleepy "Song Within A Song", with an expressive camel style. A guitar, a counterpoint flute and collective vocal parts .The piece itself - consisting of two parts is fascinating. At the beginning it was an idyllic-angelic atmosphere, and in the second half: a rhythmic pursuit of solo instrumentalists' performances. Amazing seven minutes of classic art-rock playing. "Chord Change" is an instrumental theme, which serves as a delight for Latimer's fingers. "Spirit of the Water" is a simple song with a great melodic charge, which shows the path of some of Camel's future projects. "Another Night" is the most aggressive track on the album, where voluminous guitars and fast-paced bass soak up the atmosphere leading to three-band passages. "Air Born" presents a sweet development, and to close the album, the aquatic rock of "Lunar Sea", the piece takes us to the vastness of space, where the Latimer guitar and Bardens keyboards speak in all their glory, and the only possible comment is an expression of astonishment.

The album was created with a great balance, considerable variety of compositions and an undeniable load of the original, charming atmosphere for the listener.

 The Snow Goose by CAMEL album cover Studio Album, 1975
4.30 | 2401 ratings

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The Snow Goose
Camel Symphonic Prog

Review by prog_traveller!!

4 stars Camel have been able to develop a personal identity and an unmistakable sound (very oriented towards melody and with particular of the instrumental part rather than the vocal part).

We are facing the third album of the British quartet, an entirely instrumental concept based on the eponymous story by Paul Gallico. The Snow Goose is absolutely unique from all points of view, the music is truly total, accurate, emotional and it is no coincidence that the album finished in twenty-second place on the English Billboard. Being faced only with instrumental compositions could confuse the listener, also and above all because compared to Mirage the change of direction is quite clear. The base is always that Canterburian-inspired rock, but this time it is peppered with baroque and pompous compositions, with Latimer's flute and Bardens' keyboards in great evidence and assisted by the orchestra conducted by David Bedford.

In The Snow Goose the instrumentality of the compositions literally leaves you breathless: in fact, many of the solos are wonderful, Latimer's guitar is splendid and amazes all the time in the same way as when the musician puts on the flute, then there are the keyboards of Bardens, immense, full of that peculiarity that belong to great musicians. The album is absolutely perfect in the linearity of the sixteen pieces that make it , no song needs comments and underlining, all the pieces are equally "perfect" both from the compositional and sound point of view, nothing seems to be left to chance in the composition of this great symphonic rock work that should only be listened to and that's it, nothing more.

 Mirage by CAMEL album cover Studio Album, 1974
4.40 | 2821 ratings

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Mirage
Camel Symphonic Prog

Review by prog_traveller!!

5 stars The album "Mirage" is decorated with one of the most recognizable and controversial covers in the history of rock music. It features graphics and a logo known from Camel brand cigarettes (which was particularly interesting on the cassette edition, which, due to its size and shape, can easily be mistaken for a real pack of cigarettes). The musical content of the album is no less interesting. It was here that two of the camel's greatest compositions were found - "Nimrodel / The Procession / The White Rider" and "Lady Fantasy". Both long, nearly ten minutes long, consisting of several parts, quite diverse and interestingly arranged, but not particularly complicated. This music is not about pretentious performances, but about creating an interesting atmosphere and beautiful melodies.

"Mirage" has a very high rating among the band's fans. Usually it is considered one of the best and even the best Camel album, and "Lady Fantasy" is the best song of the group.

"Supertwister" is a beautiful cut of medieval imagery. The piece is composed by keyboardist Peter Bardens, one of the pillars of Camel's music in his sonic confrontation with Andy Latimer's guitar. The instrumental theme features an outstanding Latimer flute and various tempo changes that reflect the capacity as instrumentalists of the different components of the band. "Nimropel / The Procession / The White Rider". Written by Latimer, it unfolds with beautiful passages especially "The White Rider", The track draws inspiration from Tolkien's Lord of the Rings and is introduced by a particular and mysterious arpeggio that serves as a prelude to a fanfare of ringing trumpets and screams, typical of an important medieval event, trumpets which in turn lead to a slow of sublime caliber. The singing is splendid, decidedly evocative with its very particular intonation and it is masterful even the background, up to a musical explosion made of speed, pyrotechnics and so on. In short, 9 minutes full of great poetry. The following "Earthrise", the second instrumental of the disc. Earthrise is quite different from the other instrumetal Supertwister. Meanwhile it is long and alternates much more extreme phases of music, it is delicate, full of solos, virtuosity and, in short, everything you expect from prog musicians. Of note is the central part, which contains a piece of music quite well known even by those who do not listen to this type of music, really enveloping. The second and last suite of the album is "Lady Fantasy", divided into three sections merged together ("Encounter", "Smiles For You" and "Lady Fantasy"), one of the most representative sound monuments of English progressive ever: from synth arpeggios embroidering the introductory plot, from the attractive lead guitar motif, picked up later for the closing, to the hieratic voice of Bardens ("Listen very carefully / my words are about to reveal themselves"). In the midst of existential melancholies and platonic loves, the listener finally has the sensation of having witnessed a musical epiphany of divine proportions. Fantastic end of a fantastic album.

 The Snow Goose by CAMEL album cover Studio Album, 1975
4.30 | 2401 ratings

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The Snow Goose
Camel Symphonic Prog

Review by Zeropikinz

5 stars Exactly 25 years ago, I first heard the band CAMEL and got acquainted with their music. The album "Snow Goose" from 1975 is still my favorite.Magical melodies, emotions that beat out tears, beat over the edge.Latimer's stunning guitar and flute, Bardens ' contrasting keyboard flights, and the smooth playing of the rhythm section. That's just incredible ...amazing mutual understanding of the musicians who recorded this work.It's probably one of the best instrumental albums in rock music (in the ' 70s, that's for sure!). (Once I read that the band Camel music critics refer to the second echelon of progressive rock! These critics are just fools ).
 I Can See Your House From Here by CAMEL album cover Studio Album, 1979
2.91 | 731 ratings

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I Can See Your House From Here
Camel Symphonic Prog

Review by TCat
Special Collaborator Eclectic / Prog Metal / Heavy Prog Team

3 stars In 1979, things were looking pretty bleak for progressive rock. Many bands were trying to find ways to fit into the New Wave sound that was emerging and taking over. The best artists were adapting nicely and it seems that prog rockers were trying to follow Alan Parsons Project in making prog-pop.

With so many line-up changes occurring with Camel, things were a bit up in the air as to where the band was going. Only two original members now remained with previous band members quitting over the movement to a more accessible sound. However, you have to give Camel props for really trying to retain a certain amount of progressive sound to their music while also making it approachable for the masses. The best move that Camel made at this point was the addition of Kit Watkins from the band "Happy the Man". The also recruited some orchestral arrangement help from Simon Jeffes (from "Penguin Café Orchestra" for use on two tracks. Rupert Hine was also involved with producing "I Can See Your House From Here", and this was a busy time for him as his style seemed to be the choice of many bands for bringing them into the '80's. I always seem to have issues whenever he is involved in a project, and unfortunately, you can hear his influence throughout this album.

But, doggone it, the band really tried hard, and you have to give that to them. The better tracks like opener "Wait" show some promise with some great progressive action and the guitar and synth solos throughout and even the more poppy sound of "Your Love is Stranger Than Mine" has some nice work by Watkin and a peppy sax solo from prior member Mel Collins. If they managed to stay in this style, Camel could have had a great prog-pop record. "Eye of the Storm" is mostly a lifeless instrumental that at least has some great bass work by Colin Bass. "Who We Are" has a bit of bright prog to its tracks like this one that demonstrate where a lot of Neo-prog artists would get some inspiration. The orchestral additions in this track are very nice and help to add some depth.

Most of the 2nd side is dedicated to pushing the prog-pop sound and many times you can hear the Alan Parsons Project being tapped for ideas here. The short "Suvival" is an orchestral track that sound like it was stolen from a movie soundtrack. "Hymn to Her" is just an okay track, but "Neon Magic" has some goofy vocals that makes for an embarrassing track and "Remote Romance" sounds like the band doing a bad Devo impersonation. Thank goodness the last track, the 10 minute instrumental "Ice" brings back memories of the classic and progressive Camel and this, along with "Who We Are" and "Wait" keep this album from being a complete let down. By the time you add up the pluses and minuses of this album, you end up with a 3 star rating. This is one I play only for the best 3 tracks. Other than that, nothing much seems to leave any impression on me other than the band trying it's best to fit into a new decade, but only leaving us with a mediocre album with only 1 5-star track ("Ice").

Thanks to Ivan_Melgar_M for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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